WE HEAR OUR MEMBERS OF COLOR; NOW THE INQUIRER MUST
To be heard.
It’s a fundamental element of feeling respected and valued. It is what all those protesters walking, chanting, and dropping to a knee in the streets of Philadelphia and its suburbs since Saturday are seeking. For people of color to be heard, for their anguish, fears, anger, and unequal treatment to be recognized once and for all, part of a global plea for help triggered by a man whose final words – “I can’t breathe” – we will never stop hearing.
Today, members of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia who are employed by The Inquirer as journalists – reporters, photographers, videographers, producers, all of color – raised their voices in collective pain and frustration over their own experiences of feeling not heard.
Like the Guild itself, which represents 319 Inquirer employees in news, advertising, circulation, and finance, these journalists of color have been pushing for a more racially diverse company to better reflect the majority-minority city it serves. A company whose journalism coverage is sensitive to the issues, needs, challenges, and dreams of people of color living and working in and around the city. A company whose predominantly white newsroom has made little progress in becoming more inclusive.
“We’re tired of shouldering the burden of dragging this 200-year-old institution kicking and screaming into a more equitable age. We’re tired of being told of the progress the company has made and being served platitudes about “diversity and inclusion” when we raise our concerns. We’re tired of seeing our words and photos twisted to fit a narrative that does not reflect our reality. We’re tired of being told to show both sides of issues there are no two sides of,” these journalists wrote in an open letter to Inquirer leadership this afternoon. “Things need to change.”
They will be off the streets tomorrow, forgoing the practice of journalism they cherish and know is so essential to the Philadelphia region, declaring themselves “sick and tired of pretending things are OK. Sick and tired of not being heard.”
The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia stands behind them. In other words, we hear them.
The Inquirer needs to show right now that it does to.
It can and must do better.